garlic bulbs
From Betty’s garden (and Sharpie)

In the middle of the party, Carol – a longtime Utah resident – asked me what I most liked to do, when I visit family in Park City, which I’ve done several times now. We’ve skied, hiked, visited a farmer’s market or two, shopped ’til we dropped, checked out amazing views via automobile, and now mountain biked, all in addition to enjoying some great meals out and in. We were in a room that had at least 15 dishes brought by people in the room or made by us, all of which featured some form of garlic.

At that particular moment I was so full that I was about to burst and was afraid of failing in my duties to choose and announce a “best dish” for the party. Still, my answer for Carol was, “the eating.” I’m not sure, but I don’t think she was impressed. She went back to asking more questions of the highly amusing and adorable (and 7-year-old) fellow party guest, Tanner.

“Garlic Fest 3” has come and gone, and it was great fun! The winningest dish is now facing controversy so let me just say that the dish that I thought was best was brought by the chef for the US Ski team, Allen Tran (featured here): a quiche with roasted garlic and sage. Not only was it gorgeous to look at, but it was delicate, delicious and something I’d really like to have for lunch today. It shouldn’t be surprising that it would be good, so it was ruled out of competition.

Another item that was ruled out was the dish my brother made: garlicky sliders. All evening, he was grilling more of those savory patties for pleading guests, and I think they were even better when dressed with the super-sharp (HOT!) toum that I made for the party.

garlic sauce: toum
Toum-tastically hot

The toum kind of suffered from misrepresentation – it really needed spicy kebabs – but people still seemed to like it as a dip. I’ve had a much better (fluffier and not quite as hot) toum while dining out at Shish Café in Saint Paul. Laura’s awesome KitchenAid food processor wasn’t up to the speed (literally) needed to whip that stuff up into a proper frenzy. I may try it again – here’s the recipe if you are interested; thanks go to Splendid Table for the fun radio episode featuring it, a few months back. Ahh, I’m going to miss this marathon training, if only because the drive over to Minneapolis early for the Saturday morning club runs has given me quality time with Lynn Rossetto Kasper.

Garlic Fest is a an annual party that my brother and sister-in-law host, for fun, friends and food. It was great to meet and spend some time with these amazing people, most of whom are or were involved with the US ski teams or the US speed skating teams, with whom my hosts worked or have worked for a few years now.

Dishes that came to the party included gazpacho, a roasted-vegetable salsa, cheesy potatoes, a quinoa pilaf, Chicken Kiev, roasted garlic, wings with a super hot garlic sauce (hotter than my toum), cheesy grits, and a dip with crudités arranged in athlete shapes. A little disappointingly, no dessert came but I figure it was due to the fact that these people all work in sports medicine and science, and sugar’s place there may be questionable. It’s also kind of a tough puzzle, to identify a garlicky dessert!

mountain biking in Utah
Fearless riders

The next day we selected an activity to help our bodies sweat out all the garlic: a couple hours of mountain biking on the trails around Park City. This was a first for all of us, and we had a blast, especially the two of us who rented full-suspension bikes. The trails were good fun, though a little rocky in parts, and so the adrenaline surged a few times. That morning was beautiful, if a little chilly, so we got started late enough that our next stop was lunch at High West Distillery and Saloon, a favorite for their great whiskeys and cocktails.

The rest of the weekend saw some flavorful/amazing wasabi-shunning sushi (at Sushi Blue), a Sunday brunch buffet with such an oeuvre of sweets available that it was even labeled as the dessert table (at Sundance), french toast and some great pulled pork at No Worries Café, and some delicious (hot) Thai food down in the valley (at Skewered Thai).

mackerel sushi
3 kinds of mackerel

I also managed a training run, on as flat a trail as I could find, and I’m happy to report that at 4,000+ feet it was easier for me to keep my effort low than it was during my long run yesterday at home in Saint Paul, at about 600 feet. Go figure. Perhaps credit can be given to the love I got from their two friendly cats: pets are clearly great for stress management. But maybe not when one of them repeatedly wakes you up in the middle of the night for snuggles…

Given the volume of food words in this post, it’s fairly clear that I came for the food this time. I certainly wouldn’t want the food without the terrific visiting time with family that lives so far away. I’m looking forward to visiting for the powder too, in March. Bring on the schuss!

 

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